Executive Leadership

Dara Munson

President & CEO

Dara Munson came to Chicago in 2016 as CEO of Chicago Child Care Society. She is a native of Detroit where she served as president and CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metro Detroit, COO of Girl Scouts of Southeastern Michigan, and senior director of United Way of Southeastern Michigan.

In 2020, Munson led the historic merger of two social service agencies (Chicago Child Care Society and Family Focus) which now serve nearly 20,000 children, youth and families through high-quality programs delivered by 400 team members throughout Northeast Illinois. Munson states, “it’s my goal to see families that are traditionally marginalized receive equitable support and resources so they may realize their dreams and the dreams of their ancestors.

In addition to her role as President and CEO of Family Focus, Munson also serves in numerous leadership and advisory roles, including:

  • Governor’s Early Childhood Education and Care Transition Advisory Committee – Appointed Member
  • Eastern Michigan University Foundation Board of Trustees – Immediate Past Chair (first Black woman in this role)
  • Illinois Partners for Human Services – Board Member
  • Chicago Alliance for Collaborative Effort – Immediate Past Chair
  • International Women’s Forum, Chicago Chapter – President-Elect July 2024
  • Chicago Foundation for Women South Side Giving Circle – Founding Member
  • Early Childhood Education CEO Roundtable, Chicago – Founding Member

Dottie Johnson

Chief Financial Officer

Dottie Johnson joined Family Focus in 2021 and oversees all aspects of its finances, information technology, and facilities management. Dottie has nearly 30 years of experience in financial leadership roles in the nonprofit sector. Previously, she served as the CFO and controller for Chicago Commons, where she was responsible for all facets of the financial strategy, planning, management, and accounting. Prior to her time at Chicago Commons, she has held varying financial leadership positions in the nonprofit sector, providing strategic direction to leadership teams on financial sustainability, overseeing investments and liquidity, financial risk assessment, and resource allocation decisions. In addition, Dottie is a published author in trade journals, developed an accredited training curriculum for senior leadership on nonprofit financial management, and has traveled around the country as a trainer and consultant. She is a certified public accountant and holds a bachelor of science degree in business from Murray State University. Dottie enjoys giving back to her community and does so through her service as a trustee of her church’s finance board and director of the children’s nursery.

Erin Walton

Senior Vice President of External Relations

Erin Walton joined Family Focus in 2023, and brings decades of experience in strategic development, fundraising, quality improvement and executive leadership. Erin served as Executive Director of Resilience, a Chicago-based nonprofit that empowers victims of sexual violence, from 2017 – 2023. Prior to that, she served at Chicago Child Care Society as Director of Quality Improvement from 1999 – 2007, and Development Director from 2009 – 2017. Erin also serves as a part-time lecturer at University of Chicago’s Crown Family School of Social Work. She earned her MBA from Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University.

Gerry Tolbert

Senior Vice President of People & Culture

Gerry Tolbert is a seasoned Human Resources Executive with over 25 years of experience in various industries and joined the Family Focus team in 2023. She specializes in HR strategy development, international non-profit management, cultural sensitivity, and diversity management. Gerry has served in leadership roles, including as the Associate Vice President of Human Resources for the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews. Under her leadership, the organization was recognized as one of the “Top 50 Best Nonprofits to Work For” in the US. She holds a Master of Science degree in Human Resources Management and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Spanish. Gerry has been actively involved in community activities, having served as a former Vice President and Spanish Language Instructor for Love Without Borders International, as well as being a former committee member for the Mombasa Relief Initiative in Kenya. Her engagement in these roles allowed her to make a positive impact on the lives of children, both locally and abroad.

 

Sherneron Hilliard

Senior Vice President of Programs and Impact

Sherneron Hilliard has held many roles at Family Focus, most recently as the vice president of programs. She served as the center director of the Lawndale center for seven years, having graduated as the project director of Adult Services for eight years, also at the Lawndale site. Prior to joining Family Focus she was an individual and family therapist for ProCare Centers. Sherneron has a B.A. from Jackson State University and a M.S.W. from Loyola University. She is currently pursuing a doctoral degree in Education Counseling Psychology.